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GenZero Schools
With sustainability at its core, the GenZero project is focused on a net-zero carbon design that is resilient to climate change.
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GenZero: schools for the future

In response to the UK government’s commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the Department for Education initiated a programme to research and deliver the next generation of sustainable secondary schools, working to a zero-carbon target in construction and operation.

Building Research and Establishment, Department for Education
Project management, acoustic, fire, carbon, BREEAM and cost consultancy services
The DfE is building a prototype classroom from GenZero to showcase at COP26


GenZero is a Department for Education (DfE) led research project funded by Innovate UK to deliver two prototype secondary school designs that represent a significant change in the quality and design of new schools and are net-zero in both construction and operation. We are project managing the commission, as well as providing expert acoustic, carbon, fire, cost and Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) consultancy services.


With sustainability at its core, the project is focused on a net-zero carbon design that is resilient to climate change, carefully managing the use of raw materials to deliver a highly efficient, low-energy, low-embodied carbon design which is also resilient to the impacts of the current worst-case climate change scenario of an increase in global average temperature of four degrees by 2080. The kit of parts has been digitally developed for design for manufacture & assembly (DfMA) to maximise offsite construction, increasing efficiency and quality while driving down costs and carbon impact.


The sustainable and user-focused design is net-zero as defined by the UK Green Building Council. It has led to the adoption of biophilic principles, marking a change in the design landscape for schools that places an emphasis on a protective landscape through improved micro-climate and water management, environmental benefits through rich biodiversity and improved learning outcomes for students through the calming effect of a feature-rich landscape. The DfE is commissioning a prototype classroom from GenZero to showcase at COP26.

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